Re “Walsh commits $50m more to rebuild Long Island Bridge” (Metro, April 10): Mayor Walsh’s priority in this year’s budget of $50 million allocated to help rebuild Boston Harbor’s Long Island Bridge and establish a recovery campus is laudatory.
Since 1872, Long Island has been the home for Boston’s most disenfranchised and neglected. Over the last century, when our community’s poorest and sickest had nowhere to go, essential life-saving projects were established there. These included an almshouse; residences for single mothers, homeless alcoholics, and tuberculosis patients; and, until the bridge was closed due to structural and safety concerns, more than a dozen addiction treatment and homeless centers populated the island.
Today, a Boston nonprofit seeking affordable and accessible housing stock for a recovery center faces daunting financial and community obstacles. Every Boston “mainland” community will tell you how stretched and saturated they are with human service programs. Trying to site even a small recovery group home for those seeking help is formidable, and often takes years.
Long Island is Boston’s gem in the sea. Nearly 2 miles long and covering 225 acres of woodland, meadows, and preexisting roadways, utilities, solid buildings, and a water tower, Long Island deserves this access bridge rebuilt to answer the overwhelming need of Boston residents unable to find recovery services. Every day without a bridge leaves this vital island, with all its vast potential, just a vacant, empty, decaying ghost town.
Victory Programs is a nonprofit specializing in addiction treatment, housing, and homeless family services.